Athletes File Class Action Against Networks, ESPN

October 8, 2014

Ten former college basketball and football players are suing ESPN, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and eight National Collegiate Athletic Association conferences, claiming that their images were used without their permission because the waiver signed by college athletes is not a legal, or enforceable, likeness release. The athletes accuse the networks and conferences of "exploiting" NCAA rules to profit off their likenesses, Courthouse News reports. The class action is similar to the lawsuit filed by former college basketball player Ed O'Bannon, in which a federal judge ruled against the NCAA, saying that the association violated antitrust laws when it forbade athletes from profiting off their likenesses being used in video games.

"The conspiracy between and among the broadcast defendants, licensing defendants, conference defendants and the NCAA has created a marketplace resembling a plantation type arrangement where defendants financially benefit in the collective amount of billions of dollars, while student athletes, the driving force of college sports, receive nothing more than their cost of attendance," the athletes state in the lawsuit.


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